It’s autumn/winter time in late 50’s Soviet Union, Stalin has recently passed away, but communism is still strong despite a thawing of tensions with the West. Youth counterculture is rare in these parts, but scratch below the surface in Moscow, and you will find a much-maligned hipster movement. A unique band of snappy dressers that look to the West for their style inspiration, calling themselves the ‘Stilyagi’, they wear printed shirts, pleated trousers, and 50’s American style knitwear. After a few days in Moscow taking in the sights of Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, & Lenin’s Tomb, and spotting the occasional Volga or Tatra motorcar in between, it’s time to board the Trans Siberian Express. Stepping aboard with vintage leather trunks, the porter shows you to your carriage where we are met by the art deco clad trains, and their impressive décor and geometric printed seat covers and walls which look like they could be the work of Luibov Popova or Varva Speanova.
Train life is slow and steady, small talk in abundance along with eating, drinking – (vodka for breakfast, why not), & smoking, all the while taking in the impressive landscapes through the windows. The rolling hills of the Ural mountains follow the journey, clad with birch and pine trees and the occasional wooden chalet, interspersed only by the odd eye-sore of an industrial site. Billboards and on-board magazines scream communist propaganda, all with its ‘constructivism’ style artwork; the early works of Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky still prominent. With various stops along the way, there is chance to hike and explore and see close up some of the more interesting animals Russia has to offer; the distinctively horned altai argali, the elusive Siberian tiger & snow leopards, the abundance of squirrels in amongst the tress, and the lazing of the seals at the impressive Lake Baikal. The Mongolian Steepe can be seen in the distance to the south.Arriving at your last stop in Vladivostok, there’s a chance to shop for the classic tourist gifts, Russian Dolls, Siberian fur hats, vodka, and some khokhloma printed textiles.
Welcome aboard the Siberian Express.
Following this theme, look and feel, we were tasked with designing graphics that could be a part of this collection. Keeping in mind that Siberian express feel with the more modernist Far Afield look, several outcomes were created, with heavy influence from constructivism, which in some way gives us that feeling of a communism led Russian era.
The collection is available to purchase here.